The fate of about 70 000 sheep currently assembled on a plot at Berlin, Eastern Cape now rests on the outcome of a court case scheduled to start on July 16 in the Makhanda (Grahamstown) High Court.

This follows the dismissal of an urgent appeal to an interdict against Saudi Arabian livestock traders Al Mawashi by the NSPCA to prevent the loading of the sheep aboard a 40-year old livestock carrier named Al Messilah, currently at East London.

After the NSPCA had applied for, and been granted, the interdict to prevent the Al Messilah from loading, Al Mawashi appealed, saying the judge who granted the interdict was biased and should recuse himself. This the judge did, ruling that the appeal should he heard by a fresh legal team.

This was duly done and the new team tossed out Al Mawashi’s appeal, ruling that the date of the original hearing on livestock shipments in more general terms, scheduled for mid-July, should stand.

Apart from the inhumanity and cruelty of mass live animal transportation by sea in general, the level of suffering which would have been meted out to the Al Messilah’s cargo would have been exacerbated manyfold as the ship would have sailed from East London in winter, but would have arrived in the Arabian Gulf in the height of the northern summer, where daily temperatures routinely reach and exceed 40 degrees Celsius, leading to temperatures inside the ship routinely exceeding 50 degrees Celsius, with the lower deck temperatures the worst, as the ship’s hull is, in addition, heated by the warm waters of the Gulf.

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